The University of Sydney Sparks pulled away from the visiting Frankston Lady Blues (3-5) early in the fourth quarter of this one, outscoring their opponents 26-13 in the last stanza to finish with a 22-point win. Here are our takeaways from an impressive outing which saw the young Sydney team improve to a 6-3 record:
Young Sparks Run Free
The Sparks are kind of the Milwaukee Bucks of the SEABL, with seemingly endless reserves of long, athletic players that can bother opponents with steals, blocks and deflections. They’re a raw group, but they’re exciting and play up-tempo, high energy basketball.It was a good night all round for the youth bridade; guard Maddie O’Hehir had one of her best games, collecting 10 points. Lara McSpadden, a member of the Gems squad, was particularly influential in the second half as Sydney took control, showing some nice post moves to go with her three blocks and Kimberley Hodge was again strong, registering a +19 plus/minus, the (equal) best in the game.
Sydney switched heavily on the Frankston star, who at different times was met with size and strength (Shanae Graeves), length (Kimberley Hodge) and a smaller, but mobile perimeter defender (Tupaea). The Sparks ultimately held Mijovic to 5/20 shooting and her relatively quiet night went a long way to the Sparks winning the game.
Sparks bruiser Shanae Graeves collects one of her four rebounds for the game.
Sherrie on top
While young guard Sherrie Calleia hasn’t played major minutes for Sydney yet, she certainly put together a decent case for more playing time with a here, there and everywhere cameo, collecting 6 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals in an action-packed 8 minutes of court time.
Chelsea D’Angelo is on the rise
Already a development player with the Melbourne Boomers, the 17-year-old D’Angelo is a pacy guard who can get to top speed quickly and really attacks the hoop with vigour. She showed some nice skills at the rim, using an up and under on a couple of occasions to finish over Sydney’s talls. Her 17 points led Frankston in scoring.
Tahlia Tupaea: Swiss Army Knife
Recently drafted by WNBA team Minnesota Lynx, Tupaea has all the tools to make her a real multi-dimensional threat at this level. Her high-level vision led to some cheap points for Sydney as she constantly looked for transition points. She contributed in any number of ways, picking off passes, getting a couple of sneaky weakside blocks and successfully competing with Frankston's giant frontline for loose rebounds. Her 21 points paced the game, but this was another performance that went way beyond scoring.